Thu, Feb 09, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Yahoo board overhauled to revitalize firm

AFP, SAN FRANCISCO

Yahoo on Tuesday announced a boardroom shakeup to breathe fresh life into a pioneering Internet firm that has been struggling to re-invent itself and appease disappointed investors.

Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock announced that he would step down from the board along with three other longtime directors, clearing an old guard from the path of new chief executive Scott Thompson.

The boardroom house cleaning comes scant weeks after Jerry Yang (楊致遠), who co-founded Yahoo nearly 17 years ago and had an ill-fated stint as chief executive, resigned from all of his positions with the California-based firm.

Yang, 43, one of the original dotcom billionaires, had been on the boards of Yahoo, Yahoo Japan and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴集團).

Yang served as chief executive of Yahoo from June 2007 to January 2009, during which time he and Bostock notably turned down a US$47 billion takeover bid from Microsoft, earning the ire of many shareholders.

Bostock and Yang have been the targets of stockholder anger as Yahoo’s stock price sank to about half of what it was when company leaders snubbed Microsoft’s generous buyout bid.

Bostock said on Tuesday that he had decided not to stand for re-election at Yahoo’s next shareholders meeting, along with board members Vyomesh Joshi, Arthur Kern and Gary Wilson.

He said the board elected two independent directors: Alfred Amoroso, former president and chief executive of Rovi Corp, and Maynard Webb, a former chief operating officer at eBay.

Bostock said a strategic review of Yahoo has made “significant progress” and has included “a wide range of discussions with potential partners.”

“We have engaged with potential investors and reviewed proposals concerning an equity investment in the company, although at this time there have not been any proposals which have been deemed by the committee to be attractive to our shareholders,” he said.

Bostock, in a letter to shareholders, said Yahoo was in “active discussions” with its partners in Asia on restructuring its holdings in the Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan.

“While we continue to devote significant resources to these discussions, we are not in a position at this time to provide further detail or to provide assurance that any transaction will be achieved,” he said.

Chinese online commerce titan Alibaba is 43 percent owned by Yahoo and Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma (馬雲) has a long-standing offer to buy all or part of the company.

Once seen as the Internet’s leading light, Yahoo has struggled to build a strongly profitable, growing business out of its huge Web presence and global audience.

Yahoo has popular Web sites, but has been losing advertising business to search giant Google, social networking king Facebook and specialized Web sites. Its revenue and net profit dropped in the fourth quarter of last year, capping off its third straight year of declining results.

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